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Autumn Foliage, Southern California Version

Leucadendron 'Ebony'  displaying Southern California's version of autumn foliage
It has finally cooled off enough to garden again here in Southern California.  I've been pulling out victims of two months of terrible heat--the Leucadendron in the above photo, as well as the Grevillea 'Royal Fanfare' which looked happy in spring but did not survive the heat.  Two choice plants.  Ouch. 
Some of the Pittosporums also suffered--one of the P. tenuifolium 'Wrinkled Blue's had several branches die.  I spent yesterday cutting them out. There, the center-left one.  Looks a bit better now.  There's still a few dead bits that need to come out.  
The four 'Tasman Ruffles' P. tenuifolium to the right look very bad, much worse than in the photo.  The long drought of 2011-2016 damaged them and they lost their health and beauty.  They should be lusciously dense, not scraggly.  Remove and replace with new copies?  Replace with something else?  Cut back hard, to…

A Visit To Bird Rock Tropicals

Bird Rock Tropicals is a mail order Bromeliad nursery in San Diego County.  One can also visit the nursery by appointment.
Out front are some big clumps of big Aechmeas(?) and some magnificent blooming Aloe 'Hercules'.

 Even their small (1 m) tall 'Hercules' were pushing out flowers. 
 More Broms edging the parking area

 The nursery dog supervises your visit, and takes a break now and then to play in the Carpobrotus edulis.
 Mostly all I can say about Bird Rock Tropicals, besides identifying a few of the plants is: "Wow!  Wow!  Awesome!" 

 The bronzy Tillandsia at the top is T. capitata 'Coral'
 Tillandsia 'Samantha',  hybridized by the owner of Bird Rock
 There were many amazing plants.  I'm not overly familiar with the Bromeliad family, so I could not get all the names straight.  
Plus there were a lot of distractions. 

 Neoregelia 'Cantankerous'

  A form of T. purpurea.  This inflorescence is long past fresh, but still eye-catching.  In this species, the flowers are fragrant.

 T. tectorum?

 This is T. rauhii, reigning from thrones of Spanish Moss, T. usneoides.  The name was easy to remember because there is an Aloe rauhii.  Both plants are named in honor of Dr. Werner Rauh, the internationally renowned botanist and author of the two-volume work "Succulent and Xerophytic Plants of Madagascar", as well as
"Bromelien - Tillandsien und andere kulturwürdige Bromelien". 
 The tiny deep purple flowers on the huge flower stems of T. rauhii were just starting to appear. 
 T. xerographica
 Large clumps decades old hang here and there.
Like I said, wow. 
 Wow wow wow.

No, not for sale

 Strange flower stalk on this one.  One actual flower is just emerging, bright yellow.  Bromeliads all have three flower petals;  that is how you tell they are a Bromeliad. 

 T. streptophylla(ish)?, maybe? 
 Back outside in the parking lot, we stopped to catch our breath.

 Like I said, wow.  So of course I bought a few plants, a very few.  I picked out many more and then put them back.  

Neoregelia 'Chilipo' above,  Neoregelia 'Super Fireball' lower left:
Tillandsia mereliana
 This name I remember:  T. capitata 'Coral'.  It has the same green and the same bronze coloration as Aloe deltoideodonta 'Sparkler', so I photographed them together. 
Bird Rock has a mail-order business.   Their plants are great, and their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, so if you are looking for beautiful bromeliads, check them out!


  1. You're right, Wow! Wow! Awesome! What a place!

    1. Finally found a place that rivals some of the wonderful PNW plant retailers you blog about. I done good!

  2. Thank you! I've ordered from them a couple of times and everything has been healthy and happy, fast shipping too! It's wonderful to see the nursery like this though, so many exotic things. I'm not sure how I would ever make a decision on what to buy if they were all in front of me like that. Of course I might decide the easiest option was to just move in...

  3. Wow is right! I had no idea Bird Rock Tropicals was so close (relatively speaking).

  4. Quadruple wow! It had somehow never occurred to me that tree aloes also bloom; a vivid moment to look forward to on your bank.
    Bird Rock is yet another place where it looks as if it would be mighty hard to settle on a few favorites. Though of course some of the most heart-stopping are among the 'not for sale' set. And that splendid, sparkly ten-years-of-Tillandsia mass!
    The effect might pall quickly in a home garden, but the glowing amber- and red-orange bromeliads have a special pull for me in today's cold and drippy gray weather. Thanks for helping us bask in beauty for a bit.

    1. Our strong and unfortunately nearly constant sunlight needs strong glowing colors; pastels wash out here. Drippy gray sounds pretty good.

      'Hercules' (barberae x dichotoma) apparently varies; mine have not bloomed yet, and may always be stingy with their flowers. Seeing many in flower was yet another treat.

  5. Yep. Wow.
    You showed great restraint. All things considered!

    1. Being overwhelmed tends to restrain. Strange how that works.

  6. Cantankerous looks as if it has been beaten up, bloody scratches. Ouch!

    1. Huh. Never thought of that--good observation! "Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative" -- that might get someone in trouble, for sure.

  7. Oh, they have some wonderfully tempting plants on their website, I nearly ordered some today. I need to think about it, anything ordered now would have to go right into the greenhouse, which is overstuffed as it is. But I really like the idea of having a plant called 'Cantankerous.'

    1. Any space on the bathroom windowsill? (If you have a bathroom windowsill.) 'Cantankerous' would be perfect for you!

  8. What a place. I would have been overwhelmed too. Heck, I am overwhelmed just looking at your pictures. What beautiful plants...and so big!

  9. Wow is right! What an awesome nursery. Now I'm off to checkout their website.

  10. What a fun visit! And yes, WOW is right... so many fantastic plants to choose from! I would have been completely flabbergasted. They were all fabulous, but I think my favorites were those thrones of Spanish moss - just unbelievable!

    1. If only every human appreciated how marvelous plants are. A better planet, and more nurseries like this.

  11. Incredible looking nursery. Hmm... I may have to put together a road trip this Holiday break.

    1. San Diego county has some great nurseries and still has a large horticultural industry--something that has vanished from LA & OC. The trick is to find them--the best seem to be advertised more by word-of-mouth than anything else.

  12. I would like to forward this post to Virginia and Pam. Awesome


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